One thing that cements my relationship with Tuvia is our shared passion for movies- the deeper, more challenging the better, but yesterday was tough. Yesterday afternoon we raced home to see a documentary, a Oscar-nominated documentary called, The Gatekeepers. For an hour and 1/2 we watched 6 former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service share their experiences for the first time publicly. Tuvia was heartsick as we moved through the movie, as their hopes for the future of Israel grew darker. You might say it’s quite amazing that they were willing to be so open about Israel’s difficult position as a democratic state occupying Palestinian lands for so many years. In a war on terror, morality has to take a back seat.
They don’t agree on everything, but they all agree that communication with the other side is essential.
A few years ago we watched another documentary, The Land of the Settlers on this subject created by a well respected TV newsman in Israel, Chaim Yavin who stepped down from his anchor role and toured the West Bank to see for himself. His conclusions were similar, the State of Israel was paying a high moral price for its occupation. I remember meeting Yavin in New York City at a small gathering of Hebrew University alumni. We just watched a trailer of his work and we were moved and then hopeful that something could change in Israel. I wonder how Yavin feels today?
Here’s the trailer for The Gatekeepers:
And if this wasn’t enough to feel sick and saddened, but a few months ago at the Burns Film Center, just over the Tappan Zee Bridge, we sat at a screening of Five Broken Cameras another documentary nominated this year for an Oscar. This piece, created and narrated by a Palestinian living in the West Bank, was probably the most difficult movie we have ever watched. At the end of this movie we got to meet the filmmaker, his young Israeli director and the international organization of artists who financed the film. The issues of occupation were specific and local and harrowing.
It’s interesting too that right now Netanyahu is having difficulty creating a new government after his weak win in the last election. Just yesterday there was a demand made by Israel’s religious right to create a bus line just for Palestinians traveling from the West Bank into Israel.
I can understand Tuvia’s despair.